MS Football: Heritage School teams clinch playoff berthsFrom STAFF REPORTS
Heritage School feeder football programs earned hard-fought playoff berths last week following victories over opponents at home last week in a pair of games where the outcome remained in doubt until the final play.
The Hawks’ middle school team outlasted Harvester Christian 40-38 in triple overtime on a game-winning two-point conversion by Hamp Smith after he scored a touchdown with Heritage facing fourth-and-goal from the 4-yard line.
The middle school contest went into overtime tied at 24 with neither Heritage nor Harvester able to take more than a one-possession lead. The Hawks picked up two touchdowns from quarterback Kirby Arnall and another from Smith in regulation.
Heritage fell behind 24-16 when an onside kick attempt bounded into the arms of Harvester’s Payton Kirk for a 60-yard go-ahead touchdown. But the Hawks regained momentum with a tying score and kept things that way with a fourth-quarter interception by Caleb Perry to force overtime.
Teams then traded touchdowns over two overtime periods before Harvester grabbed a 38-32 lead. Heritage, which nearly ended the game in the second overtime on a 25-yard field goal attempt that was blocked, came up big to stop a reverse run by Harvester on the ensuing two-point attempt.
Harvester, though, forced fourth down on Heritage’s ensuing possession in the third overtime only to see Smith scamper around right end for the tying touchdown.
Heritage then called the same play for the ensuing two-point conversion, with Smith again successfully carrying it in off the right side before falling across the goal line among a swarm of Harvester defenders.
The lower-school Hawks also needed to bear down at the finish defensively to pull out a 20-14 win over Strong Rock.
Neither team managed more than a one possession advantage in a game that ended with Strong Rock driving for another potential tying score when the Hawks defense put together a final stop.
Down 14-8 at halftime, Heritage scored 12 unanswered points in the second half, finally taking a lead for good on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Wright Arnall to Henry Arnall.
Yet, Strong Rock moved the ball inside the Heritage 20-yard line with under a minute to play forcing the Hawks defense to make a final stand. The unit held on four consecutive downs to end the game with Jake Martin, Thomas Crymes and Hershall Smith leading the team in tackles.
The Hawks offense did their job as well, setting the tone with a 85-yard halfback pass from Wright Arnall to Henry Arnall on their opening drive. Wright then added the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
Despite falling behind 14-8 at halftime, Heritage again came out strong to convert on its first possession of the third quarter. Patrick Griffies’ 70-yard run tied the game.